The Supreme Court on Thursday, 25 August, took note of the report filed by an expert panel that was appointed to probe the Pegasus spyware-related allegations and stated that the Indian government had not co-operated with the investigation of the court-appointed committee.
Citing the report, the Supreme Court said:
"It appears 29 phones were given...they have found some malware..five out of 29 phones had some malware, but not saying if due to Pegasus. So it is concluded that these 5 phones have malware on poor cyber security...let us see how far we can release this report."
"One thing the committee has said is that the Government of India has not cooperated," Chief Justice of India N V Ramana stated.
3 Parts in the Pegasus Report
The apex court revealed that the report was filed in three parts, out of which one part suggests a law to protect the right to privacy of citizens.
Two parts were submitted by a technical committee and another by an overseeing committee headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court, Justice RV Raveendran.
Although the third part of the report will be available in public domain, the petitioners, through their lawyers, also sought a copy of the first two.
The CJI, however, said that "some members who submitted their phones" had requested that the full report not be made public.
"There is a request by members who have submitted the phones to not release the report, that is the problem. It is a huge report, let us see what portions we can give," Ramana added.
The matter has been adjourned for four weeks.
SnoopGate: What Is the Pegasus Controversy?
On 18 July 2021, The Wire, and other international portals, published investigative reports about mobile phones of prominent Indians being targeted and tapped through the NSO spyware, which is sold by the Israeli company to governments.
The alleged list of targets included Congress's Rahul Gandhi, poll strategist Prashant Kishor, two serving Union Ministers, an ex-Election Commissioner, two registrars of the Supreme Court, an old number of a former judge, a close aide of a former Attorney General, and 40 journalists.
The Indian government maintained that it had no hand in the alleged interception.
Several petitions seeking an independent probe into the matter were filed thereafter. Advocate ML Sharma, journalists N Ram and Sashi Kumar, and CPI(M) Rajya Sabha MP John Brittas were few among those who filed the pleas.